Living My Best Life Tour: Movie Premieres, Black Harvest Film Festival, 2022 Fresh Faces Project Awards, Chronic Concerting and more!
Thanks for checking in! I hope you've been well :) Do I have quite the update for you all! I know, I know. My failure to regularly post on my old faithful blog has gotten out of control. I used to post at least monthly, however, for the past couple of years I can only find the time to write you all two or three times a year. I want to thank you all for the continued support and readership from the bottom of my heart. Even reviewing my blog stats to see that this blog still receives 50-70K+ reads a year, even with my minimal posting makes me so happy. This post will discuss various events, endeavors and adventures that I've been getting into for the last several months so stay tuned to peep my highlights.
"Wakanda Forever" Private Premiere Screening
As you may know, I'm a huge comic book/super hero nerd and I especially was a fan of the late Chadwick Boseman's performance in Black Panther. Thus, it was a phenomenal experience to be invited by my client to a private premiere screening of Wakanda Forever on the northside of Chicago! I was accompanied by my fabulous bestie, @NikhauleBeReading and we had a FANTASTIC experience. I think I can say by the resounding applause and cheering from everyone else at the event that all of the guests were entertained and pleased to see this incredible movie, bringing the cultures of the African diaspora and Indigenous Latino people to the big screen!
"Plane" Private Premiere Screening
I got the chance to attend a private premiere screening of the movie, Plane, with one of my longtime besties, @styled_poetic22, at a theatre up north. It was a great movie, action packed with a cool cast. I hadn't seen many Gerard Butler films prior to this, but, I must say he did not disappoint! I think I can speak for all of us in the audience when I say that we really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for the invitation, Shay!
Black Harvest Film Festival
This year, my firm, the Calynn Communications & Creative corporation, had the honor of serving the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute helping them with PR & Media services for the Annual Black Harvest Film Festival. This was such a privilege. In Hollywood, only 13.9% of professional actors are black, leading to a gross lack of representation. Even more unsettling than that statistic, only 7.1% of professional film producers- the ones who control casting, direction, crew hiring and finances- are black (according to Zipia.com). Yet, somehow blacks are one of the largest demographics as consumers. This is a disparity that has not gone unnoticed, yet few organizations are actually working to counteract it.
That is why it was amazing to see the work of fellow Black creatives be spotlighted, praised and honored at the Annual Black Harvest Film Festival! As the Midwest’s largest Black film festival, they are the ONLY month-long festival in the Midwest solely dedicated to the presentation of films that portray the full range of the Black experience on film! This year’s #BHFF included 20 feature films; 25 short films; and over 15 in-person and virtual filmmaker and cast appearances, alongside several anniversary screenings, restorations, and a multitude of receptions and special events.
The Fresh Faces Project Awards 2022
At the 2022 Fresh Faces Project Annual Awards ceremony, funded by my media firm Calynn Communications & Creative Inc., we had over 30 honorees in attendance between Lifetime Achievement winners, Royal Ambassadors and Innovator awardees. We could not be more elated to have recognized and bestowed awards to the change making creatives, entrepreneurs and humanitarians. People like them foster positive progress in society.
This year's ceremony has been covered on the front pages of The Los Angeles Tribune, Cosmo Press Magazine, The Washington Mail, New York Today, and JUST FAME Magazine! I, as the Founder, am so grateful to have the support we do, being able to host this event every year free of nomination fees, ticket sales or entry fees to make it as accessible as possible to people of varying socioeconomic statuses.
Chronic Concerting: The Fray, MGK and Avril Lavigne, Goo Goo Dolls, Simple Plan, Imagine Dragons and Macklemore, and Panic! at the Disco
This year has been the Year of Music for me! I've been diligent about attending as many live music events with my faves to make up for the many missed experiences during Covid-19. This will surely continue into 2023, as I have so many more musicians that I must see perform like Mary J Blige (the R&B queen), Lil Nas X and Maroon 5 to name a few. The entire ambiance of jamming out and fan-girling after you've had some good drinks and food is certainly a major serotonin boost for me.
I was blessed to see an OG favorite poprock band, Simple Plan, alongside Cami in ATL. I had immense nostalgia (possibly intensified by my alcohol consumption lol) hearing them rock out to throwback tunes like "Vacation", "Perfect," "Loser of the Year," "Shut Up" and "Welcome to My Life."
I got to see The Fray perform in their final concert with my mom as a mother-daughter getaway in Gurnee, IL. The way the audience sang our hearts out as they performed some of their soft rock classics like "How to Save a Life" and "Over My Head" was great. It was almost as epic as seeing Goo Goo Dolls live at Northerly Island in perfect late summer weather and the best guitar shaped daquiris alongside my bestie Mikaela. Finally seeing them perform iconic hits like "Iris," "Black Balloon," "Sympathy," and "Slide" was soul touching.
Mikaela also tagged along with me to see MGK and Avril play at Milwaukee Summerfest! God bless her for driving us all the way to Milwaukee and back in one night from her downtown apartment! While we only saw Avril sing one song because we got lost since Summerfest's employees were of no help giving directions to the stage, MGK was well worth the money and the trip! He shredded his guitar and sang his punk rock hits like "Bloody Valentine," "drunk face" and "Emo Girl" but also went off on the mic rapping his hip hop songs like "Floor 13" and "Wild Boy."
Speaking of rapping, I definitely turned up seeing Macklemore and Imagine Dragons alongside Ari. We were thrilled rocking out to his throwbacks like "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us" as well as new songs like "Chant." However, I must admit that Imagine Dragons stole the show and left NOTHING to desire as hard as they went in their performance. "Believer," "Radioactive," "Enemy," "Natural," "Demons," "Thunder," and "Whatever It Takes" were my personal favorites!
Most recently, I got to see one of my longtime favorite pop-rock bands, Panic! at the Disco live with my mom at the United Center! They missed a couple of my favorite jams like "New Perspective" and "Mona Lisa", but they killed it with the top hits like "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," "High Hopes," "Hey Look Ma I Made It" and "This Is Gospel." Brendon really knows how to hit a high note!
Family Vegas Trip (My first time!)
In celebration of my baby sister turning 21, my family planned a trip to Las Vegas, the city of sin. It was both of our first time going and we couldn't have had more fun! First of all, the food was spectacular. My favorite restaurant was a gourmet fine dining buffet ($85 a person) where we feasted on some incredible dishes including pasta, prime rib, steak, roasted chicken and more. *Chef's kiss* Me, Cami and her boyfriend David also went to go see the infamous Chris Angel, who is the most awarded magician of all time. That was a crazy but cool experience! We also got to walk the strip and explore, give the casinos a try (it's a no for me, dawg) and go swimming. 10/10 family vacation!
New Orleans Girls Trip (My first time!)
In true Calynn fashion, I had the pleasure of taking a 2 night getaway trip to New Orleans, LA with two of my besties @BlackCatMikaela and @_sunniside_in October! As a celebratory mini vacation marking our decade of friendship, we truly had a blast! We explored Canal and Bourbon street, stopping in gift shops to buy souvenirs (I got 2 tees), experiencing different southern cuisines like pastas, chicken, beignets and king's cake, trying various drinks, participating in a spooky fun street parade, going to Mardi Gras World and seeing Halloween Ends at their mall movie theatre! We made the most of our 2 nights and I am forever grateful.
I got the chance to roam the stomping grounds of some of my ancestors with maternal roots in LA from my Creole grand and great grand parents. Side note, I took an ancestry test and among Creole heritage, it informed that I'm apparently 60% Nigerian with a mix of other North and East African countries, about 12% European and about 3% Asian and Middle Eastern lineage. That's so funny!
I moved out of my family's house a little over a year ago now. It's insane to think that I've been living in my own place for that long, yet it seemed like just yesterday I was nervously putting in my rental application. I have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and space that living on my own has granted me: having a 2 bedroom apartment to myself is a big difference from sharing a room with my little sister. I do miss her and my family sometimes nonetheless, even though we talk every day! Ironically, I rarely even have company over or go out "past curfew" even though I set my own rules now. I'm just so consumed with being a fulltime student, working a corporate 9-5 and managing my business that recreation is at the bottom of my priorities list. Check out the apartment tour video from my Facebook Vlog Channel below.
As you can see, I've been a busy bee in 2022! I hope that you have too! I'll try to be more consistent on here guys, fingers crossed, in giving you all more regular updates ;) But, I thank you again for sticking with me. I appreciate you reading the blog and hope you have a great rest of your year!
Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Calynn, 17x Award Winning businesswoman, media personality and former pageant queen (Miss United States Universe Tourism 2021, Miss World America Nation 2020). I started this blog when I was barely 15 years old in January 2011 as a supplement to my application to the retail business internship at the downtown Chicago Nordstrom mall! I stayed there for 3 years learning the fundamentals of everything fashion business from sales and marketing to media and modeling. This was a phenomenal foundation to my career as it gave me the rudimentary knowledge and competitive edge that I needed to be successful! From there, I went on to college and obtained my first degree in Business and Humanities (the arts and social sciences). I wrote as a freelance journalist and editor for several large publications and hosted live cable television for two years. I walked countless red carpets being a VIP media guest at major industry events all over the country
In a world where so many great entrepreneurs and artists can become famous at the act of one viral video online, it's easy to get lost in the misconception that with social media's "power," anybody who is talented is already known. After all, it isn't as difficult to gain exposure and "get big" as it was 20 years ago before the Internet's Massive Media takeover, right? Partially yes, however, social media also makes the market 10x as saturated as it was 20 years ago. Thus, are you really that much further ahead if all of your competition has the means to one-up you, free of cost and inconvenience, just by posting to their online accounts? It's a lot to think about. That is why we here at The Fresh Faces Project work hard to make sure that the artists and entrepreneurs and do-gooders who are underrepresented and don't get the fame and acknowledgment that their talents merit are given a platform. That platform is us. When creating thi
Hello all! Thank you so much for returning to my blog and reading this post. I have so much to tell you all because the last few months have been CRAZY! I'm not even sure where to start. I guess I'll begin with the awards that I have been so blessed to receive within the last two weeks. I have NEVER in my entire career of almost a decade managed to take home five awards in such a small time frame! I received two Virtual Visionary awards for Entrepreneurship & Community Service, two awards given by the Sara Williams Scholarship Fund with proceeds benefitting research at St. Jude Children's Hospital, and a Service Leadership award from the pageant system that I represent as their current Miss World, the Miss & Mrs. America Nation Organization ! It was so much fun to have the honor of strutting the runway at their Nationals Fashion Show a couple of weeks ago alongside my amazing sister queens! Prior to this, I hadn't modeled in a fashion show since I was a Fashio
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